A fish with hands! Or rather, a fish swimming with limbs resembling hands was found by deep-sea divers in Australia for the first time more than 20 years ago. The pink hand fish, known as Brachiopsilus dianthus, was last seen by a diver off the coast of Tasmania in 1999.
Four other observations of the handfish have been recorded, and fearing for its survival, authorities recently classified the creature as endangered. This specimen, a “needle in a haystack,” has encouraged scientists, who believe this species of fish is increasing in number. According to marine biologist Neville Barrett, of the University of Tasmania, this is a new hope for the survival of a species previously thought to live only in shallow waters.
“The biggest surprise was the finding of a pink handfish in the area at a depth of about 120 metres,” the expert said. “This discovery provides hope for the continued survival of the pink handfish, as it has a broader habitat and distribution than previously thought,” he adds. The pink hand fish owes its name to the handcrafted fins it uses to walk along the sea floor.
According to researchers, the pink handfish is native only to Australia. This species, like others, can be found in the Tasmanian Marine Park, which contains a huge rift in the earth’s crust where marine life is found at depths of more than 4,000 meters.
This is just one of many species that are endemic to the area, according to Jason Mundy of Parks Australia, the government agency that manages the country’s national parks. “Cooperation is the key to building this wonderful marine park,” Mundy said. “Underwater valleys and mountains maintain a remarkable diversity and abundance of marine organisms, many of which are found nowhere else in the world.”
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